Excellent MP3 Player headphones ...

Posted by: KC23

Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/11/06 02:54 PM

Sennheiser Pk100. About $40 US.

I have a creative lab 6gb Zen mp3 player and while the ear buds did sound good, I found the comfort level to be bothersome. Especially on the 14hr flight to Sydney.

During my recent trip to Australia I decided I needed to get them replaced ... especially since I left my ear buds in Australia.

Did my internet research and came up with the pk100. Extremely comfortable and the bass blows my previous ear buds away. Very tight for MP3 player unpowered headphones.

Very comfortable. They do allow outside sound in (not terrible, but someone can get your attention) and others close by can hear your head phones, but for me that was okay. I mostly use them for the gym and I like to know if someone is trying to talk to me.

They don't look that durable, but I'm hard on headphones and no problems so far. They also come with a hard case for travel.

I can highly recommend them, especially at that amazing price.
Posted by: sonicfox

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/11/06 04:13 PM

Any recommendations for earbuds? I need some for running. I've currently got the Sony model MDR-EX71LP, and while I like the sound, I absolutely hate the cord. The left side is short and the right side is long (it wraps behing the head). This I don't mind as much but the cord to the plug is way too short. When I clip my mp3 player to my waist, the cord barely reaches...and I'm short with a short torso. There's an extention cord, but it's way too long! It's a rediculous design. If they would have made a standard length cord in the first place, it would be fine. I'm looking for alternatives, but it's been difficult because the reviews are so mixed.
Posted by: AshBoomstick

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/11/06 05:14 PM

couldn't you just open your windows, crank your stereo really loud, and run around your neighorhood?
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/11/06 05:25 PM

Probably the best resourse right now for answering all your questions is the "Head-Fi" web-site and forums.

It's a dangerous place to visit, however.

Best advice is to go there; put in a forum search to find out JUST what you need to know to make your purchase. Then leave the forum never to return again!

Your financial advisor will thank you.
Posted by: alan

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/13/06 12:40 PM

Hi sonicfox,

At an amazing budget level, look for the Koss "The Plug". They are about $15 and if they comfortably fit your ear canals (that's a big IF with all such earbuds), you'll get amazing bass, some sound isolation, and quite neutral and detailed mids and treble, though not quite as detailed as the M2s, M22s, M60s and M80s.

But I much preferred them to the disappointing $139 Etymotic Research earbuds, which had little bass, and an overly sibilant midrange peak. Plus I found the Etymotics uncomfortable even after trying different sizes of tips.

The ear canal fit is crucial, in my experience. Whatever you try, get a selection of different-sized tips. Even the cheapo Koss Plug comes with a variety of different tips.

Posted by: AdamP88

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/13/06 11:19 PM

Wow. I have quite a different opinion of the Plug vs. Etymotic (I'm assuming you mean the ER-6 or ER-6i). I found the Koss to be extremely bass-heavy. While it could get the toes tapping and the head bopping, it was anything but neutral (okay, more like exagerrated/bloated). The fit was relatively easy, and they were comfy to wear.

The Ety's, by comparison, are quite neutral and much more detailed. The trick is definitely in the fit, though, as even a little difference in how good the seal is will affect the bass significantly. If the seal is a little loose, then the bass will admittedly be weak, but with a good seal, the bass won't be slamming, but it will be there. I've found the foam plugs to work the best - the silicone flanges bothered my ears and it was hard to get a consistently good fit. I do find the midrange a little dry, but the highs are extremely good and overall it's a much more balanced presentation than I got from the Plugs.

Plus the Ety's block out a little more sound (I believe), and every little bit counts when you're flying or in a noisy environment. I never go flying without my Ety's, they really do make a HUGE difference in flying fatigue.

Anyway, just thought I'd give my two bits. Although, given the price difference, if you're not going to be listening critically, go for the Plugs.
Posted by: sonicfox

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/14/06 12:41 AM

Thank you for the suggestion. However, I actually already own the Koss 'plugs'. I have one of the first generations and the foam plugs won't stay in my ears. I heard the newer plugs come with better foam. I actually think they don't sound too bad, but it's really dependent on the fit. If they aren't in the ears quite right, they will sound terrible. I recently found on a few websites that there are some mods that you can do to make the 'plug' sound better. One was to tame the bass so it's not so boomy by closing the ports with a small piece of tape. Surprisingly, it really helps! Another mod was to use regular foam earplugs in place the current plugs. Maybe I'll try this option as well.
Posted by: curtis

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/14/06 03:09 AM

I have the ER-6i's and the MDR-71's. I like the 6i's sound better, but they are not that comfortable to me. I used the MDR-71's when I was the beach with my iPod.

What I recently got and love a lot, just for sheer comfort, and on top of that, they sound great, are the Sennheiser PX 100's. These things now go wherever my iPod goes.

I now only use the MDR-71's when working out. The ER-6i's don't see as much use nowadays....probably would get more play if I flew as often as I used to since they block out a lot of noise. The PX 100's, like I said before, are always wherever the iPod goes.
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/14/06 05:04 AM


These are on sale on Amazon. I highly recommend them. From my research, people tend to like these guys better than the Koss Plug. I havn't heard the Koss Plug's, so I can't really comment there.

They have a nice tiny protective case, and three silicone sizes to fit your ear. They block out sound moderately well too.

They have great bass, very surprising, not bloated at all. However, the highs can get a bit tinny at times, but I'm used to axioms. The midrange is excellent.

Sometimes if I don't get a good fit (The best way is to reach your other arm over year head and pull up the tip of your ear) they get irritating. However, picking the right size helps a lot too.
Posted by: LightninJoe

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/14/06 10:39 AM

I have Ety ER6i's and Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro's. The Etys are great walking/jogging/runaround use, pretty nice and detailed. You can get them as low at $70US. The UE's are great IEM's with bigger soundstage, better highs, and tighter lows. They are really great with a headamp. Great for travel, 23 or do dB noise reduction.
Posted by: alan

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/16/06 10:44 AM

Hi AdamP88,

Yep, I agree the Koss Plug is bass-heavy, but better too much bass than NO BASS at all--and that's what I get from the Etymotic ER-6i, which makes the siblilant midrange even more annoying. And it doesn't matter how far I jam them into my ears, the bass is still anemic.

I also agree the ER-6i provides greater isolation than the Plug.

A much better and more comfortable, albeit expensive, earbud is the Shure E4c: excellent bass, smooth midrange and nice detailed high end. But it's $300. Then again, so is the other Etymotic model which I haven't tried recently. I assumed that if the $139 ER-6i has a lousy fit to my ear canals, then the costly model won't be any better. Other friends of mine like the expensive Etymotic.

Sonicfox: the first version of the Plug was disappointing and didn't fit my ears. The newer version is much better. Every Sony earbud I've heard is seriously misbalanced, but I certainly have not heard every model so perhaps Sony got one right.

Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 02:11 PM

Digging up thread...

Anyone have any opinion on closed air headphones? I'm not getting plug style phones, but I do need noise isolation. I'm riding the BART (subway) to work now, and my little Sennheiser PXC250s aren't cutting it. Also, I'll be doing a lot of flying pretty soon. And no, I'm not getting plugs...

I'd like it to be under $100, and I'm looking at these two: Sennheiser HD280 and AKG K 26 P per their Headphone.com descriptions. Anyone else have other ideas (or preferably has checked these out?)

Oh yeah, has anyone ever had any problems with these or other large headphones in a bag with a laptop? (ie drive corruption, etc.) I haven't seen anything like this happen anywhere, but anecdotal evidence is always fun...
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 02:53 PM

In reply to:

And no, I'm not getting plugs...

Toupees don't look much better.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 02:55 PM

Rogaine? I'll try anyth... oh, wait, nevermind, no problems here, never said anything nope nope...
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 07:12 PM

If you like Senns, you're in luck: The 280s are legendary in their isolation capabilities!

......from what I've read.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 08:28 PM

Sadly, I went to that forum you mentioned... they poopoo'd the Senns (at least in the threads I read) in favor of the AKG K 81 DJ. So I might get those. But I'll look a little deeper into the Senns. Maybe I'll just buy both and return one...
Posted by: AdamP88

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 08:38 PM

If you visited Head-Fi I should mention that people there tend to fall into the "flavor of the month" spell quite easily. The Senn has an established good reputation - plus it will most likely provide you with better isolation than the AKGs. Sound quality is up for debate, but for the typical noisy BART commute, I'd go for isolation over sound quality (within reason, of course).

Oops, just read your last sentence. Trying both out might work, too.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 09:31 PM

I'll probably just get the Senns. I've been relatively happy with my PXC250s, but I'm realizing that they're not quite all that I hoped. Plus, my wife's pair broke, so I'm taking the jerk's way out and buying myself something different.

On the other hand, I've been thrilled with my HD570s, which are not particularly good for commuting...

I looked around another site referenced off of those boards, and it was nuts. I left before reading too much, for fear that I would purchase a $4000 set of headphones made of wood. (!)
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 10:11 PM

A lot of the poopooing, if I recall correctly, comes from the unfortunate fact(to some)that the sound reminds a few folks of a Grado influence. But since a Grado-like sound is sorta reminiscent of Axiom.....

(I'm already in trouble....I've fallen for a set made of wood already, but only $700US)

Posted by: Wid

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 10:14 PM

I"ve had both the Senn 570s and the 280s. I ended up trading the 570s to a friend and kept the 280s. For my type of music I preferred the closed type. IMO they are a more balanced headphone. I don't know how to explain it other than the music just sounds better to me on the 280s. They will definitely cut out quite a bit of the background noise.
Posted by: AdamP88

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 11:33 PM

In reply to:

(I'm already in trouble....I've fallen for a set made of wood already, but only $700US)

Which ones? Audio-Technicas?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/22/06 11:48 PM

Knowing F107, I'm guessing Grado RS1s.
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 07:40 AM

Ah,...very close guess; Ken!

Not the RS-1, but the Alessandro version of the RS-1: the MS-Pro!

Same price, the same overall sound, most of the same components with just a slight change in the sonic signature to be slightly more neutral and a bit more analytical.

Their pricing structure is interesting, however; from the cheapest to the most expensive:


Where: X=$100US

While the sound quality appears to be:


And since X appears to be(probably)the production costs with very minimal profit; the MS-1s are considered to be the Alessandro "gateway drug" in a can!

So being realistic; While the Woodies are very pretty, and allow one in those forums to use the "Woody" smilie in posting; the MS-2s are the real price/performance point leader, and are very hard to ignore!

Plus the MS-2s have an aluminum housing, and therefore better match our aluminum/titanium drivered Axioms!!

And the woodies are real mahogony, stained walnut. Since my Axioms are MDF clad in vinyl, mostly in black oak, rather than the new wood veniers; I'd be best so stay within my own class.

....my; how we hominids like to rationalize!

Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 01:08 PM

Sounds pretty nice...I was wondering what that little smilie meant in those forums. Weird.

I suppose that means now we get to looks. Nothing I'm looking at won't make me look like a freak on public transit, so I guess I can discard that line of thought...
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 03:26 PM

That's where we old folks have an advantage!

We can go outside with plaid shirts and stripped shorts with brown shoes and black socks and knobby knees and nobody will even notice if our headphones are cool or not!!

(actually I think I'll hold off on dressing like that for,..oh...a few more years yet!)

In reality, I think my MS-1s with bright yellow Sennheiser pads looks pretty cool regardless!

......uh,..not something everybody agrees with, though.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 03:50 PM

Boy, yeah, the 280s are looking more and more attractive, other than the rather ginormous size (both on my head and in my bag.) Sigh... I think the 81 DJ is out; Headphone.com describes them as not sealing as well as the K 26 P. 'Course, there's always the HD 25-SP...
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 04:05 PM

Uh oh, watch out for those web-sites!!

The key phrase isn't "Sorry about your wallet" for nuthin'!!

.....upgraditus is insidius! Innit!??
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 04:06 PM

Especially when you haven't bought anything yet... I just need to pick one and buy it.
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 04:16 PM

Thet's when I traditionally find upgradius at it's worst....

.....let's see, just $20 more for this one and $32 more for that(that's where cans get ya...$20 for an upgrade, not $200)

Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 04:18 PM

I'm trying to hold the line at $100... safer that way.
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 04:27 PM

I was just gonna say: "You're a stronger man the I; Charlie Brown." But then it dawned on me: That's all I spent!!

....I'm not really very strong though,...I keep GOING BACK to that horrific place!!!ARRRRRGGGH!!!!
Posted by: AdamP88

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 05:34 PM

I've actually become surprisingly immune to that place. Well, photography has replaced that habit. Every once in a while I'll get the urge to try out a tube amp like a Singlepower PPX3-6SN7 or something similar. But I get over it. And I really like my current gear, anyway.
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 06:26 PM

My problem is really kinda simple:

I also like my current set-up, but I know that for just a "little" $200 more I can get "more" of the same!! And THAT'S almost addictive!!

My old house with my M3s spoiled me. My new room(which really sucks)is unable to give back what I lost musically when we moved into this larger house. Even with new floorstanders.

Cans on the other hand, of course, don't need a room beyond what they bring themselves to the party!

Ah tubes, haven't had a good tube rig since the 60s. I try to keep the "valves" closed on that aspect of the hobby!

Cans can be positively cheap, when tube gear is considered as an alternative!

......and sometimes I think the hunt is more fun than the kill!!

Posted by: KC23

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 07:32 PM

After a couple more weeks of tuff use, the pk100s are holding up well. I personally like the open style for mp3.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 07:34 PM

I think I'm cured. There was far too much talk of break in and special cables and blu-tak (!) over there.
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 08:31 PM

As far as break-in and cables and stuff like that, there's just as much controversy there in the "Head-Fi" web-site as there is here! As a matter of fact there are a couple of specialized "No Flaming" forums within the site for folks to talk about such stuff amongst themselves away from those who think it's just a bunch of bunk! About the only thing that's tolerated, somewhat, is break-in and a tolerant nature toward just "touching on cables".

I've seen instances where a discussion on the regular forum turned to cables and was deleted by a mod after the members were warned to visit the appropriate "no flaming" forum!

The associated vendors sites selling their wares of course are far more open!!
Posted by: AdamP88

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 10:47 PM

I've always found the tweaker community on that site to be a great source of entertainment. Open up your headphones, put some blu-tak in and then they're the best headphones ever! Or drill a hole in the earpiece, put in a screen and make it an open phone! Or machine out some wooden earcups to replace the plastic ones! There's a big market for that stuff over there.

And don't get me started on the cable and speaker forum over there. Some people would lead you to believe that the absolute baseline price for good cables is $1k.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 10:48 PM

Staying away... and ordering 3 sets of headphones. Now, which 3 should I order...
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 11:03 PM

Sounds like some entertaining reading.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 11:29 PM

Well, that's the first time I've ordered anything with the explicit plan to send things back...

On the way to me are

Sennheiser HD 25-P
Sennheiser HD 280

I'll post impressions and comparisons with my other phones if anyone is interested.

If you ask really nice, I might post pictures. But I might not.
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 11:44 PM

My thoughts on speaker wire, for example are quite basic.

I had to get new wire when we got the kids; the Wife was afraid they'd cut themselves on the barbs the same way the cows did.

If it wasen't such a hassle I'd replace my surround wires in back. Some folks think 22guage is too small, but the speakers don't seem to mind.

Electrons are dumb; if they don't seem to care, why should I? Ok, maybe they are forced to slow down and bump into each other a bit on the bass notes.....

Did you catch my price/performance equations on cans earlier in this thread? I think it's actually pretty accurate!! The prices, of course are spot on. And the diminishing returns are probably fairly accurate as well.

One mod I think is actually a good idea on headphones: A plug on the can end so when you eventually do snag the wires they unplug easily.

I think wooden housings are fun, just like wood on our speakers. But only if the material is designed in.

And yeah, the cable and speaker forum is one of those "No flaming" forums that does have a fun entertainment value! People can talk as dumb as they want with no reprisals!

I do have to defend some of them though: Those who may be on the fence and don't know quite what to believe. If they spring for a snakeoil cable, it'll only be a couple feet worth. If the same thing happens in HT!!

Another thing that's interesting over there that we don't get here is the wide variety of can assesments. Absolutely nobody agrees with anyone else! You have to plot a minimum of twenty comparisons of one can to another just to get an IDEA of what the underlining truth may be!! You get to feeling like an Olympic Judge: Throw out the highest and the lowest and average the rest or plot a bell curve. Of course with so many foreign individuals using the forum for practicing their English.....

.....yeah, I'm still workin' on mine too!

Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/23/06 11:49 PM

Ah Geeze; more can comparisons to slog thru.

(.....I'll plot them with the rest

But yeah; pics would be nice......pleeeze!
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/24/06 12:37 AM

In reply to:

If you ask really nice, I might post pictures.

Post some damn pics!

Uh, please?
Posted by: F107plus5

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/24/06 02:20 PM

Hi Adam.

I got to thinking a bit more about the tweaker community on the head-fi web site, and it kinda dawned on me that perhaps we're looking at it from two different angles!!

One of the fun things of Grado/Alessandro cans is the modifiabilities of the beasts!

Why just in pads alone there are literally dozens of ways to go. Take Senn 414 ear pads for example! There's normal, dime modded, nickel modded, the ever popular "quarter", and silver-dollar modded, and reversed and sometimes dyed something other than yellow. And they all sound a little different(septin' maybe the dye job!). Then there are three or four types of C-pads with and without adjustable vents. Some are home-made designs that are held on with blu-tac at that. There are flats and bowls and comfies, ...and rat shack,....the list of pads is near endless!!

....I've left my reversed 414s yellow so if I absentmindedly leave them in my chair in partial darkness, I'm not as likely to sit on them!

Changing housings for ones with exotic woods can be interesting if done correctly with the appropriate new drivers installed by someone who knows what they are doing!!

I notice a few folks changing out Grado harnesses, but not nearly as prevelant as with many other brands. And often these changes are more for convenience or looks rather than electronic variabilities.

The screen mods are also probably more for looks than performance, as are a lot of the wood accents. But it's a fun way to tinker around and make something a bit more personal. And hey, if yer gonna screw something up, better a hundred buck set of cans than a $900 pair of speakers!!

Kind of reminds me of my early days of motorcycles:

Other guys would get on their Hondas, add gas and ride. My Triumphs "Demanded" involvement!!

But, when all is said and done....

I think I had more fun!

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Excellent MP3 Player headphones ... - 04/24/06 06:00 PM

In reply to:


Prize him up!

Ken, maybe if you could get Adam to take some pictures for you...